“China is investing in AI and deploying AI on a scale no other country is doing,” says Abishur Prakash, a futurist and author of books about the effect of artificial intelligence (AI) on geopolitics.
As developments in AI accelerate, some in the US fear that the ability of China’s powerful central government to marshal data and pour resources into the field will push it ahead.
The country has announced billions in funding for startups, launched programmes targeted at researchers from overseas and simplified its data policies.
It has announced news reading robots and AI-powered strategy for foreign relations. Perhaps most alarming to the US are its efforts to incorporate it into its military.
In the last few years, Washington has toughened oversight of Chinese investments, banned US firms from doing business with certain Chinese companies and increased criminal prosecution of technology theft.
“What the Trump administration is doing is a sign the US knows that its geopolitical power will be redefined and reconfigured by this era,” said Mr Prakash, who works at the Toronto-based Center for Innovating the Future.
These developments have come despite political disputes between the two nations. Yet, some analysts worry the US response is counterproductive, arguing that cutting off access to US microchips, for example, could simply accelerate Chinese efforts to develop their own alternatives.